Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

March 22, 2013

Traverse City native tours with Meatloaf, works on CDs

TRAVERSE CITY — Just what is that indefinable quality — that “it” that can propel a musician to the top of such a highly competitive industry? If that consists of talent, tenacity and a wide vocal range, Justin Avery has “it.”

The Traverse City native is busy making his mark on the music industry, similar to those he left on the music departments of both Western Michigan University and Traverse City West High School. The 32-year-old has spent the last three years touring as keyboardist with Rock icon Meatloaf, steadily carving out a musical career that has shown promise since his early childhood.

“Working with Meatloaf has given me the opportunity to tour bigger venues,” Avery said. “It’s a confidence-building thing. Everyone in the band is amazing, and it provides a great networking opportunity.”

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2005 to continue recording with the band, Population Game, that he formed while attending Western Michigan University, Avery’s also written and arranged music and played for artists Katy Perry, Sheila E, The Emotions, Billy Ray Cyrus and others while not on tour.

When he finds the time, Avery also works on his solo career, writing and recording his own style of music.

“Justin’s music — the body of work he’s currently doing — it’s something we’re not hearing on the radio right now,” said Traverse City resident Larry Avery, Justin’s father.

Avery’s long-term enterprise is a seven-album series of CDs, each featuring a different genre, titled “World in a Suitcase.”

“I’ve liked the idea of creating a concept, developing something bigger,” Avery said.

“Over,” the first CD of 10 original jazzy/soul compositions released in November 2012, reveals Avery’s love of jazz, his music major at WMU, along with early influences by Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sting, Sly and the Family Stone and Michael Jackson,. He says the second CD, “Careless,” will take on a rock-opera feel reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Queen.

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